Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP):
A production quality control system now being adopted throughout much of the food industry as a method for minimizing the entry of food borne pathogens into the food supply in order to protect human health. Under a HACCP system, potential hazards are identified and risks are analyzed in each phase of production; critical control points for preventing such hazards are identified and constantly monitored; and corrective actions are taken when necessary. Record keeping and verification procedures are used to ensure that the system is working. HACCP is one of the major elements of regulations, issued by USDA in July 1996 to control pathogens in meat and poultry products. Under the rules, all meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants with 500 or more employees had to develop and implement, by January 1998, a USDA-approved HACCP plan for each of their processes and products. Plants with 10 to 500 employees had until January 1999 to comply, and plants with less than 10 employees have until January 2000, to implement HACCP. Under separate rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration on December 5, 1995, seafood processors and importers also were required to implement HACCP plans and be in full compliance by December 1997.